Safe testing nuclear rockets economically

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Several studies over the past few decades have recognized the need for advanced propulsion to explore the solar system. As early as the 1960s, Werner Von Braun and others recognized the need for a nuclear rocket for sending humans to Mars. The great distances, the intense radiation levels, and the physiological response to zero-gravity all supported the concept of using a nuclear rocket to decrease mission time. These same needs have been recognized in later studies, especially in the Space Exploration Initiative in 1989. One of the key questions that has arisen in later studies, however, is the ability to ... continued below

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11 p.

Creation Information

Howe, S. D. (Steven D.); Travis, B. J. (Bryan J.) & Zerkle, D. K. (David K.) January 1, 2002.

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Description

Several studies over the past few decades have recognized the need for advanced propulsion to explore the solar system. As early as the 1960s, Werner Von Braun and others recognized the need for a nuclear rocket for sending humans to Mars. The great distances, the intense radiation levels, and the physiological response to zero-gravity all supported the concept of using a nuclear rocket to decrease mission time. These same needs have been recognized in later studies, especially in the Space Exploration Initiative in 1989. One of the key questions that has arisen in later studies, however, is the ability to test a nuclear rocket engine in the current societal environment. Unlike the RoverMERVA programs in the 1960s, the rocket exhaust can no longer be vented to the open atmosphere. As a consequence, previous studies have examined the feasibility of building a large-scale version of the Nuclear Furnace Scrubber that was demonstrated in 1971. We have investigated an alternative that would deposit the rocket exhaust along with any entrained fission products directly into the ground. The Subsurface Active Filtering of Exhaust, or SAFE, concept would allow variable sized engines to be tested for long times at a modest expense. A system overview, results of preliminary calculations, and cost estimates of proof of concept demonstrations are presented. The results indicate that a nuclear rocket could be tested at the Nevada Test Site for under $20 M.

Physical Description

11 p.

Source

  • Submitted to: Space Technology and Applications International Forum (STAIF-2003)

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  • Report No.: LA-UR-02-7382
  • Grant Number: none
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 976465
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc934360

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) is the Department of Energy (DOE) office that collects, preserves, and disseminates DOE-sponsored research and development (R&D) results that are the outcomes of R&D projects or other funded activities at DOE labs and facilities nationwide and grantees at universities and other institutions.

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  • January 1, 2002

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Nov. 13, 2016, 7:26 p.m.

Description Last Updated

  • Dec. 12, 2016, 1:07 p.m.

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Howe, S. D. (Steven D.); Travis, B. J. (Bryan J.) & Zerkle, D. K. (David K.). Safe testing nuclear rockets economically, article, January 1, 2002; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc934360/: accessed October 22, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.